Thune: Crisis on Wall Street stirs reactions By: David Lias
Plain Talk Congress hasnâ�?�?t necessarily been viewed as saviors, even though its most recent piece of major legislation is designed to fix the financial crisis that recently hit Wall Street. Thatâ�?�?s according to Sen. John Thune (R-SD) who addressed a class at the University of South Dakota School of Law Tuesday afternoon. â�?�?It didnâ�?�?t help Congressâ�?�? already low approval ratings,â�? he said. â�?�?But I think that this particular issue is one that generated a lot of anger across the country.â�? After anger, came doubt, the senator said, on the part of South Dakotans as they began to examine their 401k plans and other investments and began to worry about their financial future. â�?�?It was at that point that we began to hear from people who said, â�?�?youâ�?�?ve got to do something, youâ�?�?ve got to stop this hemorrhaging,â�?�?â�? Thune said. â�?�?We really heard it from both sides, and thatâ�?�?s a part of the process.â�? President Bush quickly signed the bill crafted by both houses of Congress. â�?�?Now weâ�?�?re in the implementation phase, where people in the Treasury Department have to figure out how to make this work,â�? the senator said, â�?�?in the way that Congress intended it, and what role does Congress now play in terms of oversight to make sure that thereâ�?�?s accountability there.â�? Thune said the legislation passed by wide margins in both chambers of Congress. He said a bill rarely receives 70 votes or more in the U.S. Senate. â�?�?What it suggests is there was broad bipartisan support â�?�? Democrats and Republicans both voting heavily for it â�?�? and I think that was a recognition that even though people may not have like the direction that this was headed,â�? Thune said, â�?�?there really wasnâ�?�?t much of an alternative but to support it.â�? Both presidential candidates supported the legislation, as well as some of the most conservative members of the Senate, he said. â�?�?There was also an enormous amount of support expressed by major organizations in South Dakota for this bill,â�? Thune said, â�?�?including The Farmers Union, the corn growers, and the soybean growers. They realized that if nothing was done, it could affect ag credit in the state.â�? Thuneâ�?�?s office has also received feedback from bankers, auto dealers, car dealers and home builders. â�?�?AARP has also contacted us,â�? he said, â�?�?because they were worried about the impact the financial crisis would have on seniorsâ�?�? retirement. So there was a whole lot of organizational input from people in South Dakota.â�? Thune said the legislation, upon its passage, was originally announced as a bailout for Wall Street. That didnâ�?�?t go over well up and down the Main Street of his hometown of Murdo, he said. â�?�?The first reports immediately galvanized peopleâ�?�?s opposition to it, but at the end of the day, the $700 billion number, while being essentially large,â�? Thune said, â�?�?is a line of credit that the treasury draws on to acquire the non-performing distressed loans that are on the balance sheets of various financial institutions.â�? The Treasury Department, when economic conditions improve and it has an opportunity to restructure these loans, will get them performing again. â�?�?They will then be able to sell them, and at lease break even and hopefully for more than the price that they paid for them,â�? Thune said.